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ATC arguing with pilot re a request to turn to avoid

Here’s an interesting article iabout weather avoidance in the SKYBRARY Magazine, see page 63 – here

“The pilots emergency authority may be excercised” is not the same as “the pilot has to declare an emergeny”.

Thsi is my understanding, and of course I may be wrong.

Here’s another FAA text I found:

If your request is met with an “unable” at a critical juncture and you’re worried about flying into dangerous weather, you can invoke your rights as pilot in command to deviate in accordance with FARs 91.3 and 91.123. However, if you’re paying attention and working with ATC properly, it shouldn’t come to this.

Last Edited by at 23 Sep 08:45

What happens in FAA-land stays in FAA-land.

Forcing FARs in Euro-land is exactly the bad publicity for N-regs you want to avoid.

EBZW EBST

Eurocontrol:

Avoiding adverse weather is necessary to maintain flight safety. The PIC has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the aircraft, crew and passengers and, whilst pilots are usually very diligent in obtaining prior ATC clearance to deviate from their clearance in order to avoid adverse weather, it is recognised that sometimes it may not be possible to do so.

I strongly agree with the spirit of the FAA regulations and even though they may not be legally applicable in Europe.

In my opinion, such situations are the exact reason why we have commander’s/PIC’s authority rules. It is understandable that ATC has some constraints in regards to traffic flow and such but when it comes down to safety of flight they’re here to provide a service. Some air traffic controllers tend to forget this but I’ve found they’re a small minority.

Often, when we brief a departure with CB/TCU cells around we will brief that we ask ATC until we don’t anymore and just turn if it gets too close. Sometimes we get caught in the middle of frequency changes and such or the frequency is just busy, in this case we just turn and talk later. This is also just a matter of “Aviate, Navigate, Communicate”. I’ve never had any issues with this and if there had been then I would’ve been more than happy to make an ASR to explain our view point.

This will also happen sometimes when we’re above a cell and they want us to descend due to some flow constraint. In this case, we’ll refuse and they always have the option of making a phone call or two to coordinate with the next ATC sectors/centers. This is well within the service we can expect as a pilot and most ATC will do this without any problem at all.

My last IFR trip in a SEP this summer, we ended up more than 100nm off our flight planned route due to CB avoidance. We were filed via Dijon and Switzerland (Geneva) but ended up going via Moulins and Lyon. In fact, we never were able to fly any part of the flight planned route. French ATC handled this beautifully and coordinated us all the way to our destination. All I had to do was to ask for heading changes every once in a while.

LFLP/LSGL

+10 (one of the cases where i miss the “like” button)

(See text from Eurocontrol above that, as i understand it, supports the FAA position).

Last Edited by at 23 Sep 09:41

Surely if you have to make an immediate turn and don’t have time to get a clearance from ATC, then it is an emergency. The very fact that you didn’t have time to declare the emergency before taking action means that it must have been an emergency!

So you might not have stated it, but when asked why you did it, “it was an emergency” will be the only acceptable reply.

I think Achim has it right. Telling ATC that they can clear you for a turn of their choosing, or you will declare an emergency and turn anyway, is likely to solve the problem. ATC is supposed to file a report on any emergency, and that will mean they will have to justify their actions. They probably won’t feel too comfortable in doing so, so it’s easier to let you make the turn and manage the traffic.

In Peter’s case, if he genuinely feels that ATC was offside, then he should consider either contacting them by phone to complain or submitting a MOR. A new IR pilot, a less confident and less experienced pilot, might have accepted ATC’s rebuke and flown into the cloud and got themselves into trouble. The only way of fixing this is to let ATC learn from their mistakes. We all need to learn from our mistakes, but if we don’t know we’re made a serious mistake, then we don’t have the opportunity to learn.

EIWT Weston

My last IFR trip in a SEP this summer, we ended up more than 100nm off our flight planned route due to CB avoidance. We were filed via Dijon and Switzerland (Geneva) but ended up going via Moulins and Lyon. In fact, we never were able to fly any part of the flight planned route. French ATC handled this beautifully and coordinated us all the way to our destination. All I had to do was to ask for heading changes every once in a while.

Yes, however, this is only true until the day it isn’t. Maybe 1 out of 100 occasions. Last year, I had such event with an a$$hole Czech controller from Prague Radar. There was weather just to my left and I requested a turn to the right (somewhere in the FIR, nowhere close to Prague or so) and he said negative. I asked again and he said something to the effect that I will not be cleared anywhere to the right. Probably some laughable military area that he was too lazy to coordinate with (which, admitteldly, can be a pain). In the end, I still had somw margin, so I was able proceed straight ahead without putting myself into any real danger. But it was the tone of his voice that really got me winded up.

As always, every situation must be taken for itself, evaluating all factors. It’s a matter of that whether one will a) just turn, b) announce and turn, c) request, wait and turn or d) request, receive approval, and turn. I have of course done all the four, but of course, I prefer d). I have not yet used the E word in any of such situations.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 23 Sep 09:50
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I think the EUROCONTROL text from Skybrary makes it quite clear: If you don’t have the time to wait for the clearance you DO it. Of course you inform them.

Anything else would be neglecting the Aviate, Navigate, Communicate principle.

But I think we should not dramatize this. In 99 percent of all cases you get the clearance right away, also because Radar Controllers are INSTRUCTED to give you the clearance. That’s very clear when you read the texts in Skybrary. In 9 out of ten of the rest of all other cases there’s another solution like a small deviation to avoid a TCU or similar … and only in very few cases you have to act.

I had such a case when I was leaving Avignon on an SID and was headed straight to CB that was not visible from the ground. I asked once, no reply, I asked twice, no reply again. The third time I said “Golf Romeo Charlie turning ten degrees to the right to avoid” and ATC came back immediately: “Approved”.

I had a similar case in Greece and no way would I declare an emergency in Greece becasue I wanted to avoid flying through a TCU. I’d probably still be there filling out documents, if not worse.

I would be very careful over London or Frankfurt, of course. But let Athena force me to fly through a tall TCU over the Aegean Seam at FL160? Now wAY.

Can I raise the question of tactical avoidance?

Often you are flying through an area where coverage at your level is about 50%, not of humongous TS, but nasty little CBs with icy cores. It is easy enough to make little deviations either side to just avoid each one…3° here, 2° there…while remaining substantially on track. Your HSI barely deviates, and to the radar observer you just look like you are hand flying rather badly while eating a sandwich.

Under those circumstances, do you say anything?

EGKB Biggin Hill
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